Just two years after opening its doors, Briar Woods high school can already lay claim to two district championships.
The boys’ golf team won the first title this past fall. This spring, the boys’ tennis team followed suit.
With a regular season district record of 11-3, the run to the title culminated with a dramatic 5-4 semifinal victory over Dominion and a 5-1 win against Loudoun County in the final.
The semifinal came down do the wire, with a score of 4-4 with just the No. 2 doubles remaining. After splitting the first two sets, the Falcons’ Patrick Ciullo and Kyle Slack found themselves behind 5-2 in the deciding third set.
“I told them to work together and to play as if the score were 0-0,” coach Jim Noland said.
Ciullo and Slack then went on to win the next five games to seal the Falcons’ place in the finals.
The Falcons’ No. 2 Stephen Law said it was his favorite memory of the season thus far as the team celebrated on the court.
“We really came together as a team at that moment,” he said. “To be a part of that was something special.”
The final included a climactic encounter of the No. 1 singles featuring Briar Woods’ Patrick Melbourne and Loudoun County’s then-unbeaten David Replogle.
“Going into the match, I was a little reluctant seeing as how he had already beaten me twice in the season,” Melbourne said. “I knew I could come back and beat him.”
Melbourne came away with the win 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 and clinched the match for the Falcons.
“The match was hard, it was probably three hours long. All I had to do was endure and I was able to beat him.”
No. 5 David Baroody and No. 6 Alex Hensley rounded out the Falcons’ lineup.
Though they won just four matches in 2006, the Falcons are, to a man, dismissive of the idea that their title was a fluke or an upset. They acknowledge that they received a boost with the arrival of Melbourne following his transfer from Broad Run. Their success, according to Noland, is the product of the hard work put in throughout the off-season.
“It wasn’t like some great shock that we had accomplished something that we weren’t capable of,” Noland said. “We were capable of it all along.”